There’s an unusal depth of light in Kent Ambler’s fine, strong woodcuts. He captures the quietly teeming shadows of distant nighttime streets, and the odd loneliness of the glow from other peoples’ windows. The familiarity of sleeping towns and cities is edged with magical dreamlike images–fast-moving clouds, racing foxes, flocks of birds. Their presence adds poignancy to the sense of loneliness–we’re not alone, though we don’t always notice. We’re part of something bigger than we’ll ever understand, though we can search for meaning in the clouds and the birds, reading the auspices of their flights.
While the imagery in my art is generally subject or object oriented, the visual appearance of each piece is of most importance to me. I work from an aesthetic and intuitive approach rather than a conceptual one. Some of my work is autobiographical while some is simply based on things that interest me, such as birds. My work is derived from my life and surroundings: my observations.
My surroundings offer endless subject matter; my three dogs, two cats, my wife Peggy, the lake, the woods, birds, flowering trees, neighbors goats, the list goes on and on. My work usually starts with an observation or a quick sketch. The images that I sketch then become a leaping point for the exploration of aesthetic qualities. Mark making is the main focus in my woodcut prints, while surface and paint application are the main focus in my paintings.
In the past I painted more directly from life but now I find myself working from a combination of observation, memory, and intuition.
Subjects, themes, and even concepts do materialize in my work through the passage of time. I generally can’t tell you what it is that I am working on until viewing a series of work in retrospect. With the help of hindsight it becomes very obvious what was going on in my life at that given time.
I try not to over think or over plan my work. I generally do my best work when my brain is “turned off” so to speak. I am inspired by the simplicity of idea and image addressed by genuine folk artists. – Kent Ambler
Kent Ambler’s earliest memories are of drawing. There was never a question as to what he would do with his life. He attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. There he was introduced to printmaking and discovered that he had an innate “feel” for the process of making woodcuts. In 1992, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. He spent six years in New Mexico before settling in South Carolina in 2000. He lives on twelve acres on Paris Mountain in Greenville, SC. He has a print studio on his property where he spends his days making woodcuts and painting. See more of his work at kentambler.net on Instagram @kentamblerart, and on Facebook at Kent Ambler Artist.